On the one hand, 2018 might have qualified as the most adventure-packed year of my life. As my husband (then-fiancé!) and I finished up our last few months of long-distance love, I visited the United Kingdom twice in six months – a new record for me! We enjoyed a brief period of quiet time in our new home after that final visit resulted in the happily-ever-after of a granted visa: and then the rest of the summer concluded with a trip to my home, our wedding, and a mini-honeymoon.
I always enjoy looking back over my various voyagings in a given year, so I hope you will indulge me as I post my virtual travelogue nearly a week into 2019!
Given that this post’s title can be considered an homage to the superior fourth installment in the Land Before Time saga of my youth, I’m naturally overwhelmed by the timeless qualities of these rain-soaked forest landscapes. With that broad, bold Monstera leaf big enough to shelter a small child from the elements (holes notwithstanding!), the towering banyan trees, and the glistening plateaus of thick uluhe fern clusters, the plant life surrounding this waterfall trek seems magically monumental in scale.
The last time we visited this enchanting corner of the Berkshires, the stale snow of late March covered pond and stones and grass alike. Seeing each corner of these historic gardens enlivened by blossoms, lilypads, and trees took my breath away – and made me even happier to think that this place will soon become the site for a most important romantic occasion.
Consider this stream-of-consciousness (and intentionally vague) post a small opportunity for strange escapism – I hope these photographs can take you away from whatever troubles you for a moment! The common impulse is to compare this property to a hobbit-home in the Shire: but I think the experience it creates for the weary traveler has much more in common with Rivendell, “the last homely house…”
When I captured the first photo above – the dramatic view of distant Castell Dinas Bran radiant in the sunlight and mist – I felt as though I’d stepped into a painting by Thomas Cole, one of my favorite artists associated with the Hudson River School. (The thematic similarity of castle ruins immediately made me think of The Present, a painting I used to teach with almost daily in my previous job, but it could really be any glorious Cole landscape!)
I expected a grey, wintry Wales awaited me during my trip in January, so the verdant pastures and generally vernal signs of life took me by surprise. If only the bleak New England beginning-of-the-year could take some tips from Great Britain!
It’s been a good long while since I just did a casual “little photos of strange magical things I discover on my walks” post, hasn’t it?
Winter decided to show all of its faces during one brief February fortnight. Over the past two weeks, I’ve seen blizzards, endless Himalayan peaks of excavated snow, veils of ice spiderwebbed across every available surface, and gloriously creamy blue skies floating above frosted branches.
(I’ve also seen the beautiful light effects that occur when you place a pink carnation on the melting snow on a surprisingly warm afternoon!)
I remember the first time I saw the Great Salt Lake in Utah, that grand stretch of desert and sort-of sea swept together and baked by the inescapable sun. The beach I visited in West Kirby, long after the water had rolled out for the morning, had that same illusive quality, more mirage than mer. Tiptoeing my way through temporary tidepools and rivers of mud, I felt breathless and alien, as though I were a stranger marooned on a strange planet that I couldn’t quite understand yet…
Guess what the East Coast decided to do this weekend? Even though spring was just starting–grass growing, tiny flowers opening, skies staying bright long into the evening–a snowy Sunday just had to sneak in and send us all back into February.
Snow may make me cross at New England’s odd ways, but at the very least, it does make for some lovely photographs. I braved the cold to take a little walk yesterday morning, and managed to capture our local plants’ reactions to this wintry blast from the past!